Todd, Reed, Kerri, and Ellis

A man in red gingham and jeans sits barefoot on the steps of a bright yellow panelled home while an infant sits in front of a teal wooden door with elaborate trim next to a woman in maternity wear: a tightly fitting black shirt, a long tan cardigan with two small, plastic cups (yellow) at her feet.

Kerri: “Reflecting on living through a year of a global health pandemic is surreal, to say the least. When Kurt and Kremena took our first photo, I had no idea how drastically our lives would change—changes that have been partly due to the arrival of our new baby, Ellis, and partly due to how long the pandemic has dragged on. Some particularly noteworthy unanticipated changes include giving birth while wearing a face mask in an eerily empty hospital and not getting to introduce Ellis to family members. In fact, Ellis is now nearly 11 months old and still hasn’t met many members of our family in person. We’re lucky to have digital devices that have allowed for video introductions and chats. However, I’ll admit that because I also teach at Transy and have been teaching all of my classes and attending meetings via Zoom, I’m really quite burned out on digital screens and video conferencing at this point.

When our first photo was taken almost exactly one year ago, I noted feeling unsure of what would happen next since daycares in Kentucky had closed the day before, which meant we had to figure out what to do with our then not-quite-two-year-old, Reed. It turned out that Todd and I were extremely privileged because, between the timing of my parental leave and the flexibility of Todd’s and my jobs, we were able to juggle work and children relatively easily. I wouldn’t have told you it felt easy at the time, but it’s clear in retrospect, and especially after learning about just how horribly this pandemic has affected many people, particularly working women and/who are people of color. Something else I’m able to appreciate in retrospect is how our daycare being closed for three months meant we were able to spend more time with Reed than we would have otherwise, witnessing a lot of growth and sharing some really special moments with her and then pretty quickly with her and Ellis.

One year later, I feel a bit more comfortable not knowing what will come next and more confident in our ability to adapt. I’m hopeful that rather than “returning to normal,” which is a phrase I’ve heard so often and I’m sure even said at some point during the past year, we—and I’m thinking here both of our family and our world—can continue to reflect on all the unanticipated changes that filled this last year and use those reflections to engage in more thoughtful, empathetic, socially just action going forward.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.